As soon as the colored leaves start to fall from the trees, cans of pumpkin puree populate grocery store displays.

Of course, you can make pumpkin puree from scratch, but using pumpkin from a can is much more convenient, and tastes just as good. Pumpkin puree is incredibly versatile, adding density and creaminess (think custard or pudding) to recipes, and its flavor does not overpower.

It just so happens that today, Oct. 26, is National Pumpkin Day, so put down that pumpkin spice latte (which doesn't contain any pumpkin) and head into the kitchen for some savory pumpkin "spice."

Recipes using pumpkin – either whole or canned - are typically sweet. Pies, bread, rolls, and cookies are the norm. Pumpkin spice latte waffles are a thing. Instead, try stirring the squash into savory soups, chili and other hearty dishes.

When shopping, be sure to select the "100% Pure" pumpkin, not the "Pumpkin Pie Mix." There's a difference (namely, sugar). According to Libby's, the No. 1 seller of pumpkin puree, the cans boast some impressive nutritional stats. "Just a serving of Libby's bright orange mash contains 40 calories, half a gram of fat, 4 grams of sugar and 5 grams of fiber. It's also packed with nutrients like beta-carotene, potassium, and vitamin A."

Stock up on canned pumpkin puree at the market, or grab a pie pumpkin on the way out. With a little effort, you can whip up a batch of pumpkin puree, perfect to use in the following recipes, or saved until it's time to make pumpkin pie.